The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Daisy Chung, 646-899-0147,

Climate Works for All Coalition Rallies Behind Breakthrough Bill on Climate, Jobs and Justice that Sets the Standard for the Nation


Climate Works for All, a unique coalition of environmental justice organizations, labor unions, environmental, faith and community groups rallied on the steps of City Hall in support of Intro 1253, a first-of-its-kind legislation that, if enacted, would require buildings over 25,000 square feet to reach high energy efficiency standards. This proposed bill, introduced by Council Member Costa Constantinides, would establish the nation's strongest requirements to slash climate pollution, and make New York City's commitment to the Paris agreement a reality. The requirements would also lead to the creation of thousands of good, career-track jobs each year, and avoid imposing standards on rent-regulated housing that would raise rents via Major Capital Improvements (MCI) rent hikes.

The City Council is holding a hearing today on this historic bill, which proposes to cut climate pollution from large buildings by 40% by 2030, starting in 2022. It also establishes governmental bodies and processes that will guide further emissions reductions to ensure that the City reaches its goal of 80% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

For years, Climate Works for All's "Dirty Buildings" campaign has demanded that Mayor De Blasio and the New York City Council enact bold legislation to cut pollution from New York City's largest source - its buildings - while creating good jobs and protecting rent-regulated tenants from steep rent hikes. Buildings account for 70% of the city's greenhouse gas emissions. Large buildings over 25,000 square feet - often luxury office and residential buildings such as Trump Tower - are the source of most of this pollution.

Throughout its advocacy, the Climate Works for All coalition has always understood that just as climate change disproportionately impacts low-income communities and communities of color, as Superstorm Sandy demonstrated only 5 years ago, the solutions must not disproportionately burden the same communities. The coalition advocated for provisions in the bill to protect New York's low-income tenants by setting separate compliance standards in rent-regulated buildings until New York State law changes. Current state law would have allowed rent-regulated building owners to pass along the costs of capital improvements from energy efficiency upgrades as permanent rent increases. This proposed bill ensures that New York's low-income tenants will not face unfair rent hikes.

Climate Works for All now calls on members of the New York City Council to pass this historic bill that will create thousands of jobs per year, dramatically reduce New York's climate pollution, improve air quality, modernize offices and living spaces and protect rent-regulated housing. New York City can be a leader on climate policy by passing a first-in-the-nation requirement for energy efficiency, and show the world that New York will continue to act on climate change despite inaction at the federal level.

Maritza Silva-Farrell, Executive Director of ALIGN said: "In another year of devastating storms, fires, flooding and droughts as well as an IPCC report warning of the dire, and looming impacts of climate change on our communities, the time to act is now. Intro 1253 will reduce emissions, save lives and protect low income tenants while creating thousand of good union jobs. This is a breakthrough policy that sets the standard for the nation. We applaud Council Member Constantinides and Speaker Corey Johnson for advancing this first-of-its-kind legislation."

Stephan Edel, Project Director of New York Working Families said: "After years of hard work the Council has a bill which balances the concerns of reducing emissions locally, fighting climate change, and protecting housing affordability. In the wake of storms and extreme weather as well as increasingly dire predictions about the impact of climate change on our communities right now is the time to act."

Jonathan Westin, Director of New York Communities for Change (NYCC) said: "This is a truly bold, progressive proposal that will slash pollution deep enough and fast enough to achieve the Paris climate agreement while creating good jobs and protecting affordable housing. We look forward to Speaker Johnson and the Council's leaders led by Environmental Committee Chairman Costa Constantinides enacting these recommendations into law. This proposal is a win-win-win for all of us."

Aditi Varshneya, Community Organizer at WE ACT for Environmental Justice said: "Intro 1253 is climate legislation that actually addresses the needs and priorities of the low-income communities and communities of color who are disproportionately burdened by the impacts of climate change. It cuts emissions at the rate recommended by UN climate scientists while protecting affordable housing residents from unfair, permanent rent hikes. The bill will also help New Yorkers of color participate in and directly benefit from the emergent clean energy economy by creating thousands of good jobs each year, which will help strengthen our communities for generations to come. This is exactly what New York City needs: bold climate policy grounded in principles of justice."

Petra Luna, Tenant Leader at Make the Road New York said: "To protect our communities from grave climate catastrophes, we must act boldly and quickly. We applaud CM Constantinides and Speaker Johnson for hearing our call and putting forward a bill that aims to tackle our largest source of air pollution: NYC buildings."

Denise Patel, Peoples Climate Movement - NY said: "The Peoples Climate Movement - New York is proud to be a part of the Climate Works for All coalition and the #DirtyBuildings campaign to secure a plan that will achieve the city's 80x50 goal with swift cuts in carbon emissions, the creation of thousands of good jobs, and protection of the city's most economically vulnerable tenants."

Carl Arnold, Chair of the New York City Group of The Sierra Club said: "As nations around the world meet in Poland to discuss climate action, the New York City Council is actually moving that forward. Swedish fifteen-year-old Greta Thunberg just told world leaders that since they're acting like children by doing nothing that will essentially solve the climate crisis, people at the grassroots must take responsibility for saving human civilization. This legislation represents the fruits of dedicated effort by exactly these grassroots here in America's largest city. We urge the City Council to pass it."

Climate Works for All is comprised of environmental justice advocates, community organizations, and Labor unions with the goal of addressing climate change and income inequality.